Knicks rumors: Lonzo Ball could be a target ahead of NBA trade deadline

By Vincent Frank
Jan 21, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) warms up prior to their game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Reports surfaced earlier this week that New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball could be on the trade block. We also already know that New York Knicks rumors have linked the team to big-name players under new president Leon Rose.

Is it possible that the surprising Knicks could pull off a trade for Ball ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline? Based on the team’s history, that idea makes some sense.

Read More: Struggling New Orleans Pelicans need to trade Lonzo Ball

New York Knicks could show interest in Lonzo Ball trade

Knicks rumors: Lonzo Ball trade?
Dec 31, 2020; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) celebrates after forward Zion Williamson (1) scores against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

“In the offseason, the Knicks did their homework on the point guard situation in New Orleans. But the homework they did at that point wasn’t about Lonzo Ball,” Ian Begley of SNY noted recently. “Now, two months from the 2021 trade deadline, some teams believe Ball will be available in trade scenarios for the right asking price.”

Obviously, Begley is noting the Knicks’ interest in former Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday last offseason prior to the veteran being sent to the Milwaukee Bucks in a blockbuster trade.

Now, with less than two months to go ahead of the trade deadline, Knicks rumors will pick up in regards to potential trades Rose and Co. might pull off.

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Despite losing eight of its past 11 games, New York sits at a surprising 8-11 and as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. To put this into perspective, the Knicks didn’t earn their eighth victory until their 32nd outing a season ago.

The likes of Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett have been key to the team’s surprising success thus far in 2020-21. Meanwhile, rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley continues to play well. That latter point could complicate things when it comes to a potential Lonzo Ball trade.

New York Knicks rumors have pointed to blockbuster trades in the past

Knicks rumors: Lonzo Ball trade
Dec 29, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s not sure a move for Ball would be franchise-altering or considered a blockbuster trade, it’s something the Knicks’ brass will kick the tires on. Rose wants to make an impact move early in his tenure as New York’s top decision maker.

Having some input, new head coach Tom Thibodeau had in the past overseen some big trades during his tenures with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. These are two points that could lead to a trade or two for the Knicks within the next couple months.

As for a potential Ball trade, we included the Knicks in our top scenarios once it became clear that the Pelicans were looking to move off the still-young former No. 2 pick.

Read More: 4 ideal Lonzo Ball trade scenarios

Said scenario included New York giving up former first-round busts Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina as well as a 2021 first-round pick, initially acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis deal.

After so many down seasons in the Big Apple, things are looking up for the Knicks. Randle has been great this season, averaging 22.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Meanwhile, Barrett has taken off as a sophomore and rookie lottery pick Obi Toppin just returned from injury.

Whether the Knicks view Ball as a potential franchise cornerstone with these three remains to be seen. The 23-year-old impending restricted free agent has struggled to the tune of 12.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists on just 29% shooting from distance thus far this season.

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